Monday, May 22, 2017

Chicago Day 1

I never intended to take a blogging break. I'm not really sure what happened. I like to look back at these posts so I'm going to attempt to catch up on the non-random stuff.

We flew to Chicago bright & early Thursday morning. We landed at 9:30. We stopped at the hotel to drop off our luggage & then headed out to start sightseeing. Our first stop was what used to be the Sears Tower, now it's the Willis Tower. We went to what's called the Skydeck. This building is the 2nd tallest in North America. On a clear day, which it was Thursday, you can see four states - Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin & Michigan. 


They have this thing called "The Ledge" on the 103rd floor. It sticks out from the building 4 feet. 


We were standing in The Ledge in this pic. I didn't think it was terrifying but it did make me dizzy. 


After Sky Deck we went to the Federal Reserve Museum.


There was 3 million dollars in the museum. 1 million in $1's, 1 million in $20's & a million in  $100's I think it was. 


They had all sorts of interesting things there. 

Everyone told us to take the Architectural Boat Tour so we did that Thursday afternoon. 
It was a lot of fun & really interesting. It was a great way to see a lot of stuff. We went along the river & Lake Michigan.





We spent the day walking everywhere which is another great way to see things. Our hotel was close to Michigan Ave. We walked 21,097 steps Thursday.

Thursday night we had a reservation at RPM Italian. This is one of Giuliana & Bill Rancic's restaurants. 


Everything was really good. 


Prosciutto Arancini, Truffled Garlic Bread, Mama DePandi's Bucatini, Spinach Ricotta Raviolo. We also had the Handmade Cavatelli & Braised Short Ribs. Everything is a small serving so you can order several things. This is great for me because I always have a hard time making a decision.


For dessert we had Cannoli's. Chocolate & Almond and Sweet Ricotta & Pistachio. Both were good but the Sweet Ricotta & Pistachio was by far the best. They were delicious.
We also had a bottle of Hendry "HRW" Cabernet. I loved it.

That's it for Day 1!

Toodles!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Amost Friday

I feel like all I do is look forward to Fridays. Saturday was the Mardi Gras Mambo. Me, Scott, Lydia & Logan were all running. Dean came out to keep an eye on Logan while the rest of us ran.


Notice how we're dressed? It was HOT. Me, Scott & Lydia were running the 15K but around mile 4 Lydia decided to do the 10K because it was so hot.

Allie was running the 10K


Logan ran the 1 mi. fun run. 


Getting ready to start! 


Approaching the finish line.



We were at the finish line cheering him on. He ran that mile in 6:41. That kid amazes me. If I only had to run 1 mi. & I ran as fast as I possibly could, I couldn't do in that time. He still has a problem with starting. He runs all out at the beginning. We've all tried explaining to him that he needs to start a little slower. 


He was 2nd in his age group so he won the hat.


Scott was also 2nd in his age group. He won a beanie.

Monday morning I ran.


My legs were tired. 

I got back out there Wednesday morning. It was cold & windy. Louisiana weather is the best. 


Friday when I got home from work Dean got a call from the insurance adjuster. Long story short, he thought we had the car. He called the body shop, they said we'd been notified that we could pick the car up Tuesday. Um no. We had not been notified. Monday rolls around & the body shop guy called & said  there was a problem with the rear air the previous week & they fixed that & he had a few things to do to it Tuesday but it should be ready to go Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday afternoon rolled around, there was a problem with the power windows so a replacement motor had to be ordered. Should be ready Wednesday. The problem I have with all of this is that at the beginning when he had to give the insurance company an estimate of the damages he was supposed to check EVERYTHING. Clearly, he did not. So, late yesterday afternoon he called & said it was ready. By the time Dean would've gotten there it would've been dark & he needs to check out the paint job so it's being picked up today. Hopefully. I have zero confidence that everything will be the way it's suppose to be. 

Toodles! 

Friday, February 10, 2017

TGIF

Really happy it's Friday. That also means we're one week closer to tax season being over & having our early Friday's back. I HATE working until 5:00. Traffic is awful all of the time but leaving at 5:00 just makes it worse. When I worked at The Advocate I worked until 4:30. I had no idea just how much of a difference that 30 minutes makes with traffic. Tuesday it took 55 minutes for me to get home. Twice as long as it should. Last night I had to pick up race packets for the Mardi Gras Mambo Saturday. That meant I went home a different way. All that did was solidify that it's NOT the way to go home. 2 trains at the SAME intersection less than a minute apart. I don't understand how that's even possible. 

Speaking of the Mardi Gras Mambo, I got an email from them saying that because I've been a past participant for several years I'm a VIP. HA! What exactly does that entail? VIP packet pickup last night with snacks & wine. Of course it just happened to be at our local Fleet Feet where there were sales going on so basically being a VIP cost me $50 because I bought a couple of running tops. I can assure you this will be the only time I'm ever a VIP for any sort of race. Or probably anything else for that matter. 

The Mardi Gras Mambo has a 10K and a 15K. I'm running the 15K so I needed to do a longish run last weekend.


I did 8 miles Sunday morning. 

Sunday evening we went down the street to a Super Bowl party.


Can you tell who we were pulling for? We have a friend that is a coach for the Falcons. They lived across the street from us when he was a coach at LSU. 

 There were around 50 people there & each family brought something. There was a TON of food. 


This was my favorite. It was just your basic yellow cake with butter cream icing decorated for Mardi Gras. I could eat butter cream straight out of a bowl. LOVE IT!

I didn't even set my clock to get up Monday morning to run because it was a later than normal Sunday night. 

Monday night I woke up practically every hour so I turned the alarm off. 
Finally, Wednesday morning I got up & ran. At 4:30 it was only 70 degrees with 90% humidity. So ridiculous. This weather is crazy.


Last Thursday the owner of the body shop called Dean - that was a first - he told Dean "the plan" was to paint my car Monday & he "hopes" to have us pick it up Thursday. Guess what??? Today's Friday, a week later & I do not have my car. I'm not the least bit surprised. That whole "hope" thing doesn't exactly fill you with confidence in what he's telling you. I'm so over it.

Toodles!


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ball Season

It's Mardi Gras season in Louisiana which means there are balls every weekend. Friday night was Karnival Krewe de Louisiane. It's not affiliated with a parade but Debutante's are presented & all of the money benefits Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Baton Rouge. 

The 3900 Krewe was well represented. 2 of the girls were being presented so it we all went.


Each Debutante's mom was responsible for decorating the tables.


The first thing that happens is they introduce all the Royalty - King, Queen, Ball Captain, Dukes, Dutchess and then the Debutantes. They all parade down a red carpet while the MC tells all about them. Once all that is over there's a parade. It's not huge because we were inside but there were a couple of floats that the Debs rode on & threw beads. There were 2 high school bands too.


Parades aren't really my thing. This one was going ok since it was small & people weren't pushing & shoving but then I got beaned in the face with a handful of beads that someone neglected to catch. If you've never been hit in the face with beads, it hurts. I had a welt on my cheek the next day. 

Once the parade is over the Band starts & there's dancing until midnight.


I had a spray tan which is why I'm not 45 shades lighter than Dean.



It's really hard to believe these two are old enough to be Debs. They were both little bitty girls when we met them. 



No, Dean isn't wearing white gloves. That's one of the dad's. They escort the debutantes down the red carpet & they wear tails & white gloves. 


We had a great time. 

Saturday, I felt it. Those 4.5 in. heels KILLED my feet. All was good while we were at the ball. It wasn't until the we got out of the car at home that I realized just how awful they felt. My back & legs also hurt Saturday & there was the welt. I honestly, felt worse Saturday than I did the day after I ran the Marathon! 

Toodles!


Friday, January 27, 2017

More Marathon Stuff

The official race pictures are out & surprisingly I don't hate them. In fact, they're the best race pics I've taken!

This was at the beginning of the race. I can't remember where the photographers were on the course but you can see what the morning looked like. FOGGY!


This was the final .2 miles. So happy to be almost finished.


Approaching the finish line. This is also where I heard Scott & Lydia cheering for me.



There's the timing mat!


DONE!!


The Marathon allows you to download the pics for free. That's a great perk because for whatever reason race pics are expensive!

So, I've got a thing for the sticker. It's kinda like if you don't post of FB it didn't happen! Have to have the sticker!


I'm so excited to finally have one of these to put on my car. The only problem is I STILL DON'T HAVE MY CAR!

You may remember 3 months ago this happened.


Yeh, 3 months ago. That is duct tape. That was to attempt to hold some of those pieces in place so we could drive it to the shop without having them flop everywhere. 

Needless to say I'm not happy. I have very little patience & at the moment what little I have is gone. To make a long story short, the body shop has been telling Dean for the last 8 or so weeks that they're "working on it". The last couple of times he called he was told "another week or two". Notice I said the last time DEAN called. Nobody ever called from the body shop including the times Dean called & was told he would get a call back. It's not like he was calling once a week either. It was more like once every 3 weeks if that. Soooo, I just happened to be in the area on the Friday they said they were going to start because they finally had all the parts - 8 weeks ago. I was a little surprised to see my car parked on the street behind the shop in the same condition minus the bumper that it was in when we dropped it off. I wasn't thrilled but stuff happens. 

Fast forward to the Friday before the marathon. I got my hair cut & then went to pick up my race packet. That meant I was going to be driving right by the body shop. I decided to make sure my car wasn't sitting in the same spot it had been but of course it wouldn't be because that was 8 weeks ago. Well, it wasn't in the same spot. It was sitting across the street. IN THE SAME CONDITION AS 8 WEEKS AGO. I parked & got out so I could look at the front & see if maybe they'd been working on it. NOPE. I didn't stick around because about that time the screaming & cussing started at a neighboring house & I figured it was just a matter of time before the bullets started flying. The body shop isn't in a good part of town & here lately there are multiple shootings a day in Baton Rouge.

I called Dean & asked if he'd talked to the body shop that day because he was planning to call & check on it. He had called & they said "we're working on it, maybe another week, week & a half". So obviously this is the company line. 

Dean sent an email to the owner & he got a call back with lots of excuses - we're really busy, everyone wants their cars, blah, blah, blah. He threw in that he was waiting on a machine to free up. Yeh that's what he said 8 weeks ago when they were going to start on Friday. He assured Dean we were "next" for the stupid machine. 

Last Wednesday Dean dropped by the body shop & they were in fact working on it & it was on the machine. He also told Dean that he's responsible for paying for our rental car & he's "not going to make any money on this job since we've had the rental so long". Um WHAT??? NOT MY PROBLEM. Then he said he hoped it would be ready this week. So wait, you mean to tell me you've had my car for 3 months for what is going to take a week and a half to fix???? Well, apparently not because I don't have my car.

 I'm not exaggerating with the 3 months either. Tomorrow will be exactly 3 months since we dropped it off. 

We had lots of recommendations for this particular shop. People say the owner is great, he does great work, etc. As long as he'd had the car he better do great work. I'm so incredibly frustrated. Obviously.

This week I started running again. Feb. 11th I'm running the 15K at The Mardi Gras Mambo. My plan was to run Monday but it was really windy so I ran Tuesday.


4 miles faster than I've done in awhile. I told Dean it's amazing what you can do when you start thinking about something that you're mad about. I started thinking about the car situation & that was all it took.

Thursday morning was another super windy morning so I skipped the run. I don't like wind. I ran 5 mi. this morning. 


We're finally having some winter weather. It was 43 this morning with a dew point of 29. 

That's about all that's going on here.

Toodles!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

26.2

This may be the longest post I've ever done. I can't help it. I want to remember it all.
Friday after work I got my hair cut & headed downtown to pick up my race packet. Being there in the middle of the day is great. It's not crowded & I was in & out in no time. 

My plan for Friday & Saturday was to do whatever I could to try not to think about the race because I was a nervous wreck. We had Italian Friday night at DeGiulio Brothers. I kept with tradition & had a couple of cake balls from Brew Ha Ha. Although, I was very upset that they were out of the King Cake flavor. I got to sleep early & slept really good. Everyone says the night before the night before the race is when you have to get a good nights sleep.


Everything laid out & ready to go.

Saturday we intended to spend the day running errands & looking for a dress for the Mardi Gras Ball we're going to. I expected this to be an all day affair. Which was good because it would keep my mind off the race. Imagine my surprise when I found my dress at the second store. We had lunch in the food court. I treated myself to Chic-fil-A. It's been awhile. We stopped by Varsity Sports so I could pick up some Gu & home we went. We had Little Caesar's pizza Saturday night. I didn't want to get out & I just wanted cheese pizza. I was all about carbs. 

I didn't get to sleep as early as I planned but I slept ok. I woke up before my 4:30 alarm went off. I was able to get dressed, get band aids all over my feet along with duct tape - weird I know but it helps with blisters. I have an issue with my pinky toes rubbing. I put the band aids & tape on as a precaution. I ate a bagel with almond butter & another cake ball. Breakfast of champions right there!! 

At 5:30 I headed out. One of my favorite Priest in town was doing a 26.2 minute Mass Sunday morning at the Church that's on the course. He's a runner & did the Mass last year for the first time. It's a great way to calm down & relax a little before the race. I met my brother & sister in law there. They were both running the Half Marathon. Another good thing about the early Mass is they open the bathrooms & you don't have to use the porta potties! We got our bags checked & it was time to line up. 




It was super foggy Sunday morning & it was not cold. I've said before how I like running in cold weather. I think it was about 60 when the race started & high humidity but there was a bit of breeze. so it wasn't bad. 


My friend Vicki, her niece Simone & my Godchild Lane came out to watch & even with all of the people out there we just happened to see them before the race. She got a pic of me & Lydia.


This is the race that has the dreaded overpass that you have to go over twice. From here on out it's referred to as "That Damn Overpass". For the Marathon it's at mile 1 and mile 25. 

There are tons of spectators on the route & being that this is Louisiana there's no shortage of food & drinks along the course. I saw Mimosa's, beer, pigs in a blanket (yuck!) & king cake. I stuck with water, power ade, ice, gu & fruit. Oranges & watermelon never tasted so good!

I knew Dean & my friends Cindy & Dianne were going to be along the course I just didn't know where. I saw them the first time at the 10K mark. Cindy has a great voice for this type of thing. I heard her well before I saw her! 

They took pics & videos. This was around mile 7. Right before this I saw Vicki, Simone & Lane again. 


Around mile 9 I saw my friend Autumn. She lives in Pensacola & happened to be in town so she came out & cheered. 


The course is along a lot of the area that I did my training runs. It starts downtown & you make your way through LSU's campus & along the lakes. At mile 11 the Half & Full split. This took me to a part of town that I never run in which was good because there were a lot of new things to look at. There were a  ton of big, pretty houses which is great distraction for me. 

I saw the whole crew together right before the split at mile 11 & by this time Allison had joined them. That's when I found out my brother finished the Half in 1:32. A new PR for him.  Cindy just happened to snap a pic right when Dean told me his time.




At mile 11 I saw my friend Damian. He works the race & was the person making sure everyone knew that the Half turned & the full kept going.  It was great that I was seeing people every few miles. 

I think it was around mile 15 that I saw my crew again. There's an app that I used during my training runs that is great. It's called Road ID - the same people that make the bracelets. The app sends a text message to the people you put on a list letting them know that you've started a run & it sends them a link so that at any time during your run they can click on it & see where you are. I used it training since I was running by myself.  That way Dean would always know where I was. You set the time for how long you'll be running. If at any time you stop moving for 3 minutes it sends another message to the people on your list letting them know that something's wrong because you haven't moved. There's also a loud alarm in case you've just stopped to talk or something to let you know it's about to send the text. I used the app Sunday so that Dean  could look at it & know where they needed to go to see me. It worked out great. 

We have some friends that live around the corner from mile 18 so Dean, Cindy & Dianne headed there & met Paul, Jennifer, Stan & Renee. A little ways down the road were Allison, Vicki, Lane & Simone. By this point I was getting tired but I still felt good. 

In all of the residential areas there were a lot of spectators & they cheered for you & read your name off your bib & yelled at you. It was great. This was also where a lot of people had tables set up with fruit for the runners.

Dean, Cindy & Dianne were at mile 20 I think it was. Somewhere close to there anyway. Most training plans only have you go up to 20 miles. Everyone says adrenaline kicks in at that point. I don't know about that. I kept telling myself I just had 2 5K's left. By mile 23 I had to walk a little bit. The sun had come out by this point & it was hot.  Dean, Cindy & Dianne popped up around that point. I was surprised because I thought they would've headed to the finish line after mile 20.  It was good to see them.  Only 3 miles left. And that damn overpass! 

I think the race directors or whoever measured the route thought they were being cute. Mile 25 is at the TOP of the overpass. Not funny. As I was going down the overpass there were a few people walking in the opposite direction. They'd finished the race, gotten their medals & were headed home. I so wanted to be them. 

I made the final turn in which you can see the finish line about a half mile away. Then I hit mile 26. Almost there. I couldn't believe it. I saw Dean right before entering the finish line chute.  



Right before this point I saw Scott & Lydia cheering.


And I did it!!
 I crossed the finish line, got my medal, a bottle of water & then saw my crew. They rewarded me with a bottle of chocolate milk. So so good. My official time was 5:21:18. I was hoping to be under 5:15 but when I saw the forecast & knew it was going to be hot & humid I changed my goal to under 5:30. 


Along with my Louis Vuitton bag, that medal is my most prized possession! 
That's the Louisiana state capitol in the background. 




I got hugs from all my peeps & I'm sad because none of us thought to take a group pic. I picked up my bag from gear check & immediately put on my Oofos. Y'all those are the most comfortable things I've ever put on my feet. Next up I went to the PT tent where my friend that got me through my training was & she stretched me out. I really didn't feel awful. I was hot & my feet were hurting a little but mainly just my pinkie toes. There were blisters on both toes. So weird. 

Everyone left & Dean & I headed to the finish fest to get some food. I wasn't hungry at all. That's been a huge benefit of marathon training for me - I don't want to eat after long runs. I got some crawfish etouffee & crawfish mac & cheese & ate a few bites of each. This race has food provided by a bunch of different restaurants in town & there's all sorts of good Louisiana food. There was live music too but I was ready to go pretty quick. All I really wanted was a Route 44 Sonic Dr. Pepper. I think I started thinking about it around mile 20.


Truly the best Dr. Pepper I've ever had!!

My plan was to go home & get in the pool. That's what I did after all of my long runs & it really helped with soreness & recovery because the water is really cold. By the time we got home I was cold. Apparently, that's something that happens after you run a Marathon. There was no way I was getting in that pool. Instead I got in a hot bath!

I was ready for bed early Sunday night. Right before bed I checked my steps.


That is a record I'll never break!!!

Monday when I woke up I was scared about how bad I was going to hurt. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. I was sore but nothing like I thought I would be. I could've gone for a run. I went Monday afternoon & had a massage & that felt great. I was surprised when the masseuse told me that my back was the tightest part of my body. Today I'm pretty much back to normal. I'm taking the week off from any sort of exercise. I'm ready for a little break. 

Tuesday afternoon this was delivered to my office.


It was from my friend Autumn congratulating me again for my Marathon. I thought that was the sweetest thing.


This medal represents so much. I've never been an athlete, I never played team sports & I quit a lot of things that I started. Running is the one thing that I haven't quit on. I set my goal & I did it. First with the 5K, then the Half Marathon & now the Full. It was the hardest thing I've ever done & that's why it means so much to me. People keep asking if I'm ready to run another one. NO. This was a one & done thing. Since I started running 5 years ago I swore I'd never run a marathon. I knew there was no possible way I could do it. Well, I did it. I'm a Marathoner.

Toodles!